Lockheed Martin's Fortis Knee Stress Release Device (K-SRD) – an exoskeleton designed to lessen leg strain on soldiers walking uphill with heavy loads – has been tested on a group of four participants, according to a report in Army Technology.

As part of a study conducted by University of Michigan's Human Neuromechanics Laboratory, four trained experts wore the Fortis exoskeleton and carried as much as 40 pounds (around 18kg) of weight on their backs while walking on a treadmill inclined at 15 degrees.

The subjects kept varying their speeds in order to demonstrate real-life situations, which could sometimes require troops to walk fast or run over rough terrains.

Ultimately, the results of the test showed significant differences between both scenarios.

When wearing the exoskeleton, participants conserved energy and witnessed a significant reduction in exhaustion, while without it, they were quick to suffer from fatigue.

"The study results show K-SRD's potential to increase mobility for dismounted troops," said Keith Maxwell, exoskeleton technologies programme manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

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